To what extent are alternative proteins revolutionising our eating habits?
Christoph Klotter: In terms of nutritional psychology, we are in the middle of a silent revolution. The whole food industry is changing and is focusing on the issue of sustainability. That’s why alternative protein products – which are ideally placed to meet future needs – are rapidly gaining ground. Millennials in particular are responsible for this major change in mindset: they are more quality-conscious and ethically responsible in their shopping habits, and they want to eat more healthily. According to the 2020 Nutrition Report by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 55% of Germans now describe themselves as flexitarian, in other words flexible vegetarians who are consciously reducing their meat consumption. Most people wouldn’t even have known what a flexitarian was 10 years ago.
Christian Zacherl: Alternative protein have really taken off in the last 5–10 years, both in terms of demand and in product applications and research projects. This is due to a number of factors, including new domestic sources of raw materials and improved technologies and processing methods. The last two points in particular have greatly improved the quality of the products – particularly as regards taste and texture. We can expect further significant developments in this respect over the coming years.
Karen Tay: Although the increasing popularity of alternative proteins is a global phenomenon, the pace of development is especially fast in some countries and cities. For instance Hong Kong and Singapore currently leading the way in Asia. They are building attractive and innovative ecosystem that appeal to key stakeholders across the entire value chain, like ingredient suppliers, processing companies, academia, start-ups and investors. Accelerating regulatory frameworks, especially around cultured meat will also determine how likely and how soon, they end up on our plates. Soy, being a common ingredient in plant-based proteins has long been part of Asian diets. At the same time, companies are adapting proteins to match local cuisine and eating habits as closely as possible, and this is helping to increase acceptance too.